Capitals

Report: All-Canadian division may not work due to provincial protocols

Capitals

The NHL's plans for an all-Canadian division is in jeopardy of not working out, according to a Sportsnet report

The five provincial governments in charge of approving the resumption of professional sports for Canada's seven NHL teams have yet to approve the NHL's realignment plans, which would have the Canadian teams only play each other for a 52-to-56-game regular season.

If the Canadian Division doesn't work out by the NHL's planned Jan. 13 start date to the 2021 season, then the league has a backup plan to have those teams play entirely in the United States. It's unclear at this time where those teams would play and in what divisions. 

The Canadian government prefers a bubble format used in the Stanley Cup playoffs in Edmonton and Toronto, but the NHL and NHLPA don't believe that will be feasible for a complete season. Health authorities in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia are reportedly opposed to the current season format. 

RELATED: Where to play is reportedly the latest obstacle in the NHL's push for a season

This would follow the precedent from the MLB and NBA, though they only have one team to relocate. In the MLB, the Toronto Blue Jays played out of Buffalo while the NBA's Toronto Raptors will play based out of Tampa Bay this season. 

Canada's seven teams --  the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens -- have more logistical challenges in getting their seasons started. 

 

Here in the U.S., the San Jose Sharks had to relocate their training camp to Scottsdale, Arizona due to Santa Clara County's new stringent health regulations - similar to the 49ers